The NBA Draft is still far away, with no date even in sight. But, it seems the Knicks may have found the guy they hope to select with their pick. Despite having two point guards from the 2017 lottery, they’re hoping to land LaMelo Ball.
That’s right, the younger brother of Lonzo and LiAngelo could see himself in New York. He put himself on the NBA radar when he scored 93 points in a game for Chino Hills in 2016, and he has continued to play well enough to merit attention for the top pick in Australia’s NBL.
He, like his brother Lonzo, is not too good from the foul line, but LaMelo is capable of scoring in bunches while throwing around highlight reel passes every other possession. He is a guy that many other teams will also be hoping to obtain this offseason.
Frank Ntilikina may be sticking around for the long-term, but Dennis Smith Jr., the only lasting acquisition from the Kristaps Porzingis trade, could be on the move. He has posted career-lows across the board in a limited role in just his third year in the league.
Smith averaged nearly 16 points and five assists per game as a volume scorer for the Mavericks as a rookie. And after a decent start to year two, he continued his solid play with the Knicks after being acquired. It just seemed this year that David Fizdale and Mike Miller preferred the other guards, as he only played in 34 games.
Getting back to Ball, he is somebody that can help to change the culture potentially. The team has lacked star power since the end of the Carmelo era and trading of KP. He could come in and immediately become their leader, and face.
The only issue with the pick would likely be what happens by merely selecting him — his father, LaVar.
He has been known for his outspoken personality and the occasional need to voice his opinions to the public. We’ve seen this from several NBA parents, but never to the degree that he has done it.
With all of the losing the Knicks have done on the floor, any media scrutiny he may create would be a major negative. But he has tempered things this year with Lonzo in New Orleans, and at the end of the day, he’s just a father looking out for his kids.
It should not be enough of a potential issue that they avoid LaMelo. He’s considered by many to be the best point guard in the draft, with Cole Anthony being a not-too-distant second. The Knicks would be adding him to a core that features RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Julius Randle.
The team will also likely be bringing in a new coach next year for somebody to help develop Ball into the player they hope for him to be. And with RJ Barrett likely to improve significantly, it could be a fun year in the Big Apple. Whether or not it’s the Knicks that get Ball, a team will be upgrading its point guard room.
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